Questions remain over one-bar-one-vote in 2016’s DHCBA elections

Just when it seemed like the problems over elections to the Delhi High Court Bar Association were resolved, three matters related to the elections were heard by two different benches of the High Court today.

Two of these matters were brought before Siddharth Mridul, J. The first was DHCBA Secretary Abhijat’s challenge to the reconstitution of the Election Commission by the trial court. Disposing the application, the High Court appointed Senior Advocate B.K. Sood as final member of the Election Commission. The bench reiterated that the constitution of the Election Commission was done with the express consent of the parties. The bench also finalized the date of the elections as November 18.

In the second petition of Eshu Chaudhary v. DHCBA, the matter was re-notified for Monday at the request of the Election Commission in order to enable them to draft a schedule for the elections.

The third matter was listed before a special division bench of Ravindra Bhat and Siddharth Mridul, JJ. in the case of P.K. Dash and Ors. v. Bar Council of Delhi and Ors. The petitioner has sought a clarification from the bench with respect to the May 31 judgment on the one-bar-one-vote principle.

In PK Dash, the court had ruled that a member who votes in a particular bar association election in one year cannot contest elections for any post of any other association that year. Nor can he vote in any other bar association election that year. Furthermore, every member is required to furnish a declaration prior to casting his vote to this very effect.

However, since the tenure for the DHCBA’s office bearers is two years, the limit of one year would defeat the purpose for which the rule was initiated. The special division bench heard arguments made by a number counsel before issuing notice in the matter.

The matter will now be heard this at 3 pm this Monday.